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28th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Rehoboth this weekend

Dan Cook/Cape Gazette (2018)

An estimated 4,000 people are expected to take the “plunge” into the Atlantic Ocean this weekend for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.


The Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics Delaware.

And its director of media relations Jon Buzby says it draws all kinds of people to brave the chilly February waters in Rehoboth Beach.

“For some people it’s a tradition and for others it’s going to a first-time experience. In it’s 28 year, the Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Delaware has become, literally, one of the largest fundraisers in the State of Delaware. It is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Delaware, an organization that serves more than 4,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” Buzby said.

Buzby adds the event has come a long way from its humble beginnings 28 years ago.

“This is an event that started back in 1992 when 78 people raised $7,000 and we thought that was fabulous. And we had no idea that in 2018 we would raise almost $900,000 and have close to 4,000 people jump in. And over that time span of 27 years, more than $11 million dollars has been raised,” said Buzby. 

Last year, 3,383 people took the “plunge” and raised $875,000 dollars.
Buzby says this year's “Plunge” takes place Sunday at 1 p.m. in Rehoboth Beach.

But there are Saturday events too, including a sand-sculpting demonstration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the beach south of Rehoboth Avenue; a 5K Run to the Plunge starting at 1 p.m.; a Fire and Ice event featuring ice cream and wing samples at the Rehoboth Beach Fire Department from noon to 2 p.m. and a Restaurant Chili Tasting Contest from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.